Some of the nation’s premier thoroughbreds continue their 2021 rivalry on August 28 at the Travers Stakes, the nation’s oldest stakes race for 3-year-olds, at Saratoga Race Course.
Belmont Stakes winner Essential Quality was installed as the 4-5 favorite. He headlines a field of seven going 1 1-4 miles in the 152nd running of this event, first held in 1864.
Travers Stakes 2021 field and odds
Here’s the draw, with post-positions and initial odds. Under the parimutuel betting system, they won’t become official until post time.
|Post||Horse Name||Jockey / Trainer||Morning Line Odds|
|1||Midnight Bourbon||R.Santana / S.Asmussen||9-2|
|5||Miles D||F.Prat / C.Brown||12-1|
Travers Stakes betting preview
Essential Quality won the Belmont Stakes at 1 1-2 miles and eked out a victory in the Jim Dandy, at 1 1-8 miles, on July 31. The change in distance to a longer race – 1 1-4 miles here – may be to his advantage. He will probably be running near the lead early. The key to his chances may rest on avoiding a compromising speed duel. So far, it looks like none of the other horses like a front-running style. This would bode well for him.
Keepmeinmind ran the race of his life, nearly upsetting Essential Quality in the Jim Dandy. The horse is 0-for-5 against Essential Quality, but almost beat him last time out. Is this the end of the jinx?
Masqueparade was just behind those two in the Jim Dandy.
Midnight Bourbon was second in the Preakness Stakes, where he had become the post-time favorite. He was later en route to an apparent third in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park in July, but he clipped heels with Hot Rod Charlie. The entanglement was costly on both ends. Hot Rod Charlie won the race but was disqualified. Midnight Bourbon was pushed back to sixth.
Midnight Bourbon is the only horse in the race who has not run at Saratoga. That’s a disadvantage for him.
Dynamic One ran 18th in the Kentucky Derby, in which Essential Quality was fourth, but ran a faster time in winning the Curlin the same weekend Essential Quality won the Jim Dandy. He’s improving.
King Fury was beaten narrowly by Masqueparade and Miles D was toppled by Dynamic One.
Things to know about the Travers Stakes 2021 field
Essential Quality will break near the lead. For the rest of the field, the race will be about obtaining position and maintaining stamina for the late stretch run.
If Essential Quality wins, this race won’t pay much. A couple of exacta combinations _ especially with him second _ could be worthwhile.
Light rain is expected Saturday. But if the rain turns heavy enough to make the track sloppy, give another look to King Fury. The longest shot on the board has a victory “in the slop” this year.
Travers Stakes 2021 undercard
Gamblers can enjoy a daylong wagering festival with six earlier Grade I events offering $4.6 million in purse money. Three of these events – the Grade 1, $750,000 Sword Dancer (turf), the Grade I, $600,000 Personal Ensign and the Grad 1, $500,000 Ketel One Ballerina – provide winners automatic berths in the Nov. 6 Breeders Cup at Del Mar in California.
These races are offered throughout the afternoon. It is a wise move by the tracks.
Knowing they already have the biggest event of the industry on a given day, they supplement it with a series of big races, hoping to corner the gambling market. This is especially helpful in Pick 5 and Pick 6 betting pools.
Ways to bet on horse racing
Here are some of the major bets gamblers can make for horse races like the Travers Stakes:
- Win: The horse must finish first
- Place: The horse must finish second or better.
- Show: The horse must finish third or better. Place and show bets offer more chances to win, although with reduced payouts.
- Exacta: Pick the first two finishers in the race in exact order. It is highly advisable to take an exacta box, to cover either order of finish. A $2 exacta box costs $4. A gambler taking an exacta box of 4-3 for example, wins whether the outcome is 4-3 or 3-4.
- Trifecta: Select the top three finishers of the race, in exact order. A $1 trifecta box costs $6 and covers three horses.
- Trifecta Key: There are many types. A standard version is to place a horse in the first position with three other horses picked to fill out the second and third spots, in any order. A $1 trifecta key this way costs $6. For $6 more, bettors can put their favorite horse in the SECOND position and the other three must fill out the first and third slots. It pays well if one suspects that a couple long shots will hit the board.
- Superfecta: Picking the top four finishers in exact order. It’s expensive and may not pay much if the big favorite, in this case Essential Quality, wins.
Where to bet on the Travers Stakes in Pennsylvania
There are a number of ways to bet on horse racing like the Travers Stakes in PA in addition to online at TVG.
At off-track-betting locations:
- The Downs at Lehigh Valley
- South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook
Some Pennsylvania casinos and retail sportsbooks offer off-track-betting such as:
- Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia
- Hollywood Casino York
- Hollywood Casino at PNRC
Lead photo of Essential Quality by Seth Wenig/AP